Thursday, June 12, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Fruit, vegetable varieties released
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 11
At a meeting of the Variety Approval Committee for vegetables, fruits and flowers held at Punjab Agricultural University here today, four new varieties of vegetables and two varieties of fruits developed by chairmanship of Dr Jagtar Singh Mann, Director, Horticulture, Government of Punjab. Others who attended the meeting were Dr G.S. Nanda, Director of Research, prominent university scientists, including Dr S.S. Sohi and Dr A.S. Sandhu, and Horticulture Department officers. The varieties released by the committee included tomato hybrid TH-1, muskmelon variety MM-28, onion variety PRO-6, ash gourd variety PAG-3, sponge gourd variety PSG-9 and guava variety Arka Amulya.

The tomato variety has been developed by Dr Surjan Singh, Dr M.S. Dhaliwal and Dr D.S. Cheema and has round, deep red and firm fruits. It will have dense foliage but will be moderately resistant to late blight. The average yield will be 245 per acre.

The muskmelon variety has been developed by a team led by Dr Tarsem Lal and Dr N.P.S. Dhillon. Its vines will be medium in length, fruits nearly round, non-sutured and intensely netted. Flesh will be thick and orange in colour, juicy with excellent flavour. The average fruit weight will be 630 gm.

The onion variety has been developed by Dr A.S. Sidhu and Dr S.S. Bal. The plants would be medium in height, leaves green, bulbs deep red, medium to large in size, round with thin, tight neck. It will have good storage quality and less bolting. Average weight of 10 bulbs will be 850 gm and diameter 6.8 cm.

The ash gourd variety has been developed by Dr A.S. Sidhu. Fruits will be globular, attractive, and medium in size. Its vine will be 5.5 metres in length. It has an average three fruits per vine.

The sponge gourd variety too has been developed by Dr A.S. Sidhu. The fruits will be long, tender, smooth and dark green in colour. Average fruit weight will be 65 gm. Vine length is four metres and it will bear 20 fruits on an average. The yield is even higher than Pus Chikni, a competitive variety.

The trees of Arka Amulya are somewhat dwarf with drooping branches and dense foliage. The fruit will be large in size, round, glossy with white flesh. The average weight of rainy and winter season crops will be 144 kg per tree if the plants are grown at 6x6 distance.



‘Withdraw plan on farm price freeze’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 11
The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) today flayed the Union Government’s decision to maintain the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy at the previous year’s level and called upon the government to withdraw the plan on freezing farm prices.

Addressing a meeting of the state executive here today, state BKU president Ajmer Singh Lakhowal reiterated the demand for fixing the prices of agricultural produce on the basis of the price index for 1966-67. According to it, the support price of coarse paddy was Rs 689 per quintal, of superfine quality Rs 759 per quintal, cotton Rs 3,250 per quintal and pulses and oilseed Rs 2,860 per quintal.

Giving details of the meeting, state BKU secretary-general Manjit Singh Kadian said the state government had been asked to fulfil its promise of scrapping 4.4 per cent sales tax on fertilisers, pesticides and weedicides. The tax was still being imposed despite a categorical statement made by the Chief Minister that it had been withdrawn.

The BKU functionaries lamented that the arrears of balance payment of sugarcane growers was being withheld by sugar mill owners from February onwards, which had led to a crisis for the farmers. The farmers were finding it difficult to sow crops and to meet their domestic expenses, they added.



Standing committee on tuition fee soon
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 11
The Punjab Government is likely to announce the setting up of the standing committee for fixing tuition fee and reserving seats for different categories for admission to the MBBS course at private medical colleges in the state as recommended by the Union Health Ministry in accordance with the judgement of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court.

The composition of the committee can be on the lines of the one proposed by the UGC for technical education with appropriate modification and may also include representatives of the private non-aided medical institutions. Following the apex court judgement the management of the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital Management (DMCH) hiked the tuition fee and fixed it at Rs 4 lakh per year per student for MBBS and Rs 5 lakh per student per year for postgraduate courses.

The state government had issued a notification on May 14, directing the private medical colleges to fix the tuition fee for general category students at Rs 1.10 lakh per student per year and for Scheduled Castes and backward classes at Rs 1,300 per student per year. The state government had not accepted the fee structure and reservation of seats under different categories as fixed by the management of the DMCH.

Deputations of the DMCH management have met the Chief Minister and other senior officers of the Medical Research and Education Department, including Principal Secretary, Medical Education, Rajesh Chhabra and pleaded their case, justifying the hike in the tuition fee.

Mr Chhabra said he had sent the proposal for the setting up of the standing committee to the Minister for Medical Education, Mr Santokh Singh, and now all depends on him.

He, however, said a decision on the fee structure in private medical colleges would be taken before June 30. Mr Santokh Singh said he would hold a meeting of his department tomorrow in Chandigarh in this regard.

Mr Santokh Singh said the standing committee for free structure would be formed within a couple of days. The committee would include Director, Research Medical Education (DRME), principals of private medical colleges and two principals of Government Medical Colleges, he said.

The management of the Christian Medical College and Hospital has not hiked the tuition fee this year and retained the same at Rs 70,000 per student per year.

The management of Sri Guru Ramdas Institute of Medical Sciences, Amritsar, has fixed the fee at Rs 1,26,500 per student per year and added some other expenses totalling it to little over Rs 1.50 lakh per student per year against the last year fee of Rs 1.10 lakh. Baba Farid University of Health Sciences will conduct the PMET on June 29 for the five medical colleges, including two private and three government medical colleges of the state. The management of the Christian Medical Medical College and Hospital conducts its own entrance test. The admission to the MBBS course at the state colleges will be completed in July.



360 primary schools get grant for toilets
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 11
As many as 360 government primary schools of the district have received grant for construction of toilets.
The grant has been issued after a survey by the District Education Department under the Sarb Sikhya Abhiyan scheme. The schools were sent forms that were to be filled by the headmasters giving details of their requirement. A grant of Rs 3,000 each has now been issued to all schools that did not have separate toilets for boys and girls.

The survey conducted under the scheme revealed that many of the schools were without toilets. There were others that had only one toilet. Majority of the schools that have received grant for the purpose are at Sahnewal, Dhandran village, Bhora, near Jalandhar bypass and Ayali Khurd. Within the city, schools at Dholewal Chowk, Jawahar Nagar (girls’ school), Model Gram, Gobind Nagar, Noorwala and Ishar Nagar have been issued grant.

At Government Primary School, Dholewal Chowk, there was no toilets, either for the students or the staff, till the past one year. They had to go to the secondary wing of the school for the purpose. The government has now given it aid so that separate toilets for girls and boys can be constructed before the school reopens after the summer vacation.

Even the Government Primary School at Dhandran village was without any toilet till the past two years. An NRI woman visited the school and got constructed a toilet for girl students and women staff. However, boys and male staff of the school were facing problems even now.

While the District Education Officer (elementary), Mr C.H. Puri, was not available, other officials in the department said the funds would be allotted in phases.



Students hold exhibition of handicrafts
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 11
A 10-day summer camp at Gupta Model High School, Club Road, concluded with an exhibition of handicrafts arranged by the participating students. The students displayed soft toys, wall hangings, school bags, photo frames, pottery, paper flowers and embroidered as well as hand painted clothes. These included bed sheets, table covers, suits with dupattas, handkerchiefs and towels. Wall hangings with patterns such as of peacocks made of broken bangles, bells, mirrors and shells were also on display. Fancy school bags in the shape of kites, teddy bears and monkey were also exhibited.

There were photo-frames decorated with bells, ribbons, glitters, beads and other colourful accessories. Pots in different shapes and sizes were also on display adorned with mirrors, colourful pictures, small sculptures and golden spray. Bed sheets, TV covers and fridge covers, sofa backs and baby frocks were embroidered in different patterns.

Ms Simmi Gupta, Principal, said hobby classes on dance, music, cooking and yoga had also been arranged during the camp. She said as many as 125 students from classes IV and onwards participated in the camp and showed interest in activities they pursued.


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